Roby Addresses Defense Furloughs in Letter to President Obama

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Working to mitigate the potential negative impact of the federal government shutdown, U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) today wrote President Barack Obama urging him to enforce a law recently enacted to ensure the work of key civilian military personnel is not interrupted.

News broke Thursday that hundreds of workers in Troy, Alabama’s Sikorsky helicopter facility could possibly face layoffs due to the furloughs of key military equipment inspectors. This despite H.R. 3210, the Pay Our Military Act, a law passed by Congress and signed by President Obama providing funding for military personnel and civilian employees “whom the Secretary concerned determines are providing support to members of the Armed Forces.”

“Of course, nobody wanted a government shutdown,” Rep. Roby said. “But, when the reality of a shutdown became apparent, we passed and the President signed into law legislation ensuring our military personnel would not be negatively affected. Part of that legislation aimed to make sure the work of needed civilian employees wasn’t interrupted as well.

“I would be shocked if the Secretary of Defense really believes the inspectors charged with ensuring our Seahawk helicopter coming off the line are safe and up to specification are not ‘providing support to members of the Armed Forces.’ That’s why today I wrote President Obama urging him to see this law properly carried out so that workers will can remain on the job in Troy.”

Rep. Roby’s letter was also made available to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. A copy of the letter is attached.

Though current law should mitigate the impact of the government shutdown on military civilian employees, Rep. Roby supports efforts to pass additional legislation that would specifically provide funding for military civilian employees and end the furloughs outright.

“It was our original intent to authorize funding for civilian military personnel in the ‘Pay our Military Act.’ However, I support bringing forward additional legislation if necessary that would end any civilian military furloughs initiated by the shutdown once and for all. There is plenty the two sides don’t agree on in Congress. But, we should all agree that those who work in support of our military should be able to get back to work.”

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